Glee, Season 5, Episode 6, “Movin’ Out”
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Directed by Brad Falchuk
Airs Thursday 9pm ET on Fox
Glee’s “Movin’ Out”, an homage to Billy Joel, is a surprisingly natural tribute which fits seamlessly into the lives of the characters. Unlike some past artists’ tributes such as the drug/hallucination-driven Britney Spears episode, which have had to be forced into the plot, the songs chosen this week are shocking appropriate to the storyline.
Despite how well the life and times of Billy Joel are woven into life in and out of McKinley, there are some underlying issues that must be addressed. The predictable yet unsavory Ryder/Marley/Jake love triangle has come to its unavoidable second fruition. Somehow, every moment between Jake and Marley seems like an extremely long setup for real life lovers Blake Jenner and Melissa Benoist to get some in-character couple time. Ryder’s version of “Innocent Man”, ending with a date proposal, doesn’t help subdue the sensation of contrivance. The one redeeming factor of the whole situation is the scene between Marley and her mom. The entire conversation is one many could imagine having with their own mothers during those formative teenage years, blush-invoking sexual innuendo and all.
The Blam! (Sam and Blaine) rendition of “Movin’ Out” is jovial and a really great way to set up the rest of the episode while moving the narrative from Lima to New York. More than the song, it’s exciting to see the writers finally creating a platonic relationship with another boy for Blaine, one that feels honest and based on mutual respect instead of propriety or necessity.
If the dinner scene in the loft is foreshadowing to Glee post Blaine and Sam’s graduation, this school year at McKinley cannot come to an end soon enough. The piano purchase solidifies the long-held fan belief that Blaine is loaded but outside of Blaine himself, one can’t imagine a better addition to the apartment than a perfectly tuned upright piano. Let the sing-a-longs, complete with Santana’s bitching and hairbrush microphones, commence forevermore.
On the other hand, the uncomfortable sexual tension between Sam and Rachel is not okay. Rachel just got Finn’s name tattooed on her body. Now she’s singing about loving Sam just the way he is as they sway around a dimly lit apartment and rubbing baby oil on his chest as he strips down to his underwear. Something does not compute.
It’s also hard to believe that two people who are desperately in love, newly engaged to be married, and who have been separated (for some immeasurable amount of time, thanks to the convoluted never-ending spring semester of McKinley High and the rest of the Glee universe) would not kiss upon meeting after said separation. Or after a stunning rendition of “Piano Man” in an awkwardly candlelit diner. Or after a heartfelt talk about Blaine’s fears and trepidation in the face of one of the most import auditions and, arguably, moments in this life. We get it. It’s Fox. But unless Glee is planning on turning the sudden and alarming sexual tension between Rachel and Sam into something more, they are going to have to start acting like they believe Blaine and Kurt can carry the role of lead romantic couple. Perhaps they would be able to, if the show would allow the characters to interact a little more believably.
Other mentionable moments: For the first time since season one, Mr. Schue is both likeable and appropriate for an entire episode. Enjoy it while it lasts. It will be short lived. By next week he’ll probably be inviting Marley over to a baking/hugging session while Emma is out of town or singing “Pour Some Sugar On Me” as he nonchalantly grinds up on a freshman. And now that New York has officially instated county health ratings, the waiters and waitresses are going to have to second-think dancing on the counters and tables every time someone hums a little ditty.
“Movin Out” makes the case for Glee to make a more permanent shift to New York with Artie, Sam, and Blaine in tow. Once again, the music keeps much of the episode afloat as the writers struggle to come up with story lines that don’t involve a never-ending circle of infidelity. Despite it all, they manage to stay honest to the spirit of Billy Joel’s music while also making it relevant to a group of predominately white middle-class kids from Ohio.